A headmaster in Hingalganj town in West Bengal's South 24-Parganas district has started a training program to empower the educated young women who have been rendered jobless due to the COVID-19 pandemic or are struggling to make ends meet.
According to The New Indian Express, Pulak Roy Chowdhury, the headmaster of government-run Kanakanagar SD Institution, started training sessions on 'tailoring' to upskill the women who have failed to secured jobs. The training program is an initiative of the school and an NGO, Mom Sundarban Society.
With an initial investment of ₹80,000, the group arranged for six machines. Reports pointed out that around 17 women have currently enrolled for training including four postgraduates and four graduates. The women are being imparted lessons on stitching masks, bags and shopping bags and are being taught 'entrepreneurial' skills that would aid in creating a 'brand' out of their offered products. This would help not just to keep them self-sustained but also earn recognition in the local markets. The training session starts at 10.30 am and ends at 4 pm for six days a week.
"There are many jobless youth in the area. After completing graduation and post-graduation, these young women are clueless about their future. They belong to poor families and have completed their education after battling hardships. There are homemakers who want to supplement the family income. The idea is to provide the training and make them eligible to produce their own product," said Chowdhury.
"Our goal is to make these young women small entrepreneurs who would be able to make and sell their own products. These women are adding their creativity skill to make it as a brand in the market. They should not be the ones who would cut and stitch while middlemen will walk away with a profit," he added.
25-year-old Sumita Kayal is a post-graduate in the English language and has enrolled for the training program. She shared how she had been facing difficulties to tide over the financial crisis amid the on-going pandemic
"I taught English in the area for two years. But now there is no one who comes for tuition since the schools are closed. I had no source to earn. Once the training is over, I will not only be able to meet my expenses but also help my father," Sumita said.
Another 22-year-old graduate who is among those who attend the training sessions diligently said that after interning with a consultancy firm she failed to secure a job because the company had suspended its operations. This made her rethink about the available choices and eventually, she joined the course.
"Some of them are educated and once they complete the commercial training, they will be able to cater to a bigger market. Once their products start hitting the markets, they will be able to carve a career out of it. We have plans to procure more machines so that we can engage more women in the training programme," said the headmaster.
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